Cameron Davis today – the smile tells the story – photo Getty Images
Former Australian Open, Australian Amateur and World Amateur Champion, Cameron Davis has taken the next step in what is already a successful golfing career with a breakthrough win on the PGA Tour.
The victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit completes a week which also has seen victories by Stephanie Kyriacou on the Ladies European Tour, Lucas Herbert on the European Tour, a runner-up finish by Dimi Papdatos on the Challenge Tour and a victory by Queenslander, Louis Dobbelaar, at the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst.
Davis survived a five-hole playoff against Troy Merritt to win after a final round of 67 earned the 26-year-old a spot in the playoff against Merrit and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann.
Niemann was eliminated at the first extra hole, but it would take another four holes before Davis parred the 5th extra hole to edge out Merritt who was unable to get up and down after missing the green at the par 3 15th.
Davis appeared to have lost his chance of wining the title when three putting the 16th green in regulation after a run of three consecutive birdies from the 12th had him right in the firing line.
Then came his amazing finish in which he holed a bunker shot for eagle at the 17th and then hit a 9 iron to 6 feet at the 72nd hole which he converted to join Merritt and Niemann in the lead.
Niemann and Merritt, playing behind Davis, were unable to birdie the last and so the playoff would begin. Davis appeared as if he might win it at the first extra hole but missed a great opportunity from 6 feet. He would miss other longer opportunities at the next three holes, but it would be a mistake by Merritt that would see Davis win his third professional title but one that will shape his future.
The victory is worth US$1.35 million (A$1.8 million), will see Davis will jump from his current 134th place in the world ranking to around 65th, his first time inside the top 100, and he has also played his way into the field for the 2022 Masters.
Davis acknowledged in his post round interview that his consistent ball striking paid off in the end.
“It’s still so surreal for me. I’ve been in some good positions before, but to play the golf that I played coming down the stretch was just awesome,” said Davis
“So I’m sure I’ll be able to look back, I’m sure some of it’s on camera so I’m sure I’ll be able to relive some moments as well and really enjoy it again. But this has been awesome. I’m really, really happy with where I sit right now.
“I mean, the emotions were pretty similar to coming down the stretch in regulation, to be honest. I just kept on hitting the shots that I was hitting in regulation, the same approach. I was just under the impression that I just needed to hit a really good shot and make a putt for birdie if I wanted to win or just keep giving myself chances.
“I stayed really calm. I hit some good putts, I hit some not-so-great putts, but I had a lot of opportunities and I guess that was eventually what got it over the line for me, good solid quality shots in important situations. So I’m really proud of that and that’s a testament to some of the hard work we’ve put in.
“I mean, I did some good work with my sports psych, Neale (Smith), back in Seattle after a bit of time off and we just really did a lot of work on just routine, and that sort of stuff is really what you fall back on.
“I don’t really have any experiences in the past that kind of prepared me for it. Australian Open back years ago now was I guess similar in that I didn’t really know where I stood when I was coming down the last couple of holes and I was able to hit some good ones and get across the line.
“I guess I wasn’t thinking about that, though, today. I was just thinking about all the things that I had done all this week leading up to that point and just tried to keep it going. It was just putting all that stuff on repeat.”
Davis is now a resident of the USA (Seattle) and is married to an American and after playing both the Mackenzie (Canada) and Korn Ferry Tours, he is well established in the US.
Jason Day added a final encouraging round of 66 to finish 14th with Cameron Percy, Aaron Baddeley and Matt Jones also making the cut but finishing further back.
Cameron Davis and caddy and former professional golfer, Andrew Tschudin – file photo